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ARIA use in HTML other than for accessibility.

From: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 1 May 2015 10:10:33 +0100
Message-ID: <CA+ri+VkFtBFVT+gSSqZZTG_9CDHD1XX57mdQVwe9ukPHSZLPOA@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "W3C WAI Protocols & Formats" <public-pfwg@w3.org>
Note: have ccd HTML a11y taskforce and PF, but please reply to HTML WG list
so a broader audience can read and contribute.

Hi all,

There is some discussion  going on currently about the uses of ARIA for
cases other than accessibility.

My understanding in the context of HTML is that ARIA is to be used to allow
web developers to assign semantics to HTML content in order to make it
understandable to assistive technology users. And that it should only be
used when HTML features do not have this information baked in or developers
are building custom UI. Hence my formulation of the First [informative]
rule of ARIA [1] and the conformance requirements on ARIA in HTML [4]

The ARIA 1.1 spec appears to align with this view:

> These semantics are designed to allow an author to properly convey user
> interface behaviors and structural information to assistive technologies in
> document-level markup.
>

 So I was somewhat surprised to see a tweet [3] yesterday from Rich
Schwerdtfeger:

ARIA is providing more semantics than host languages and it is growing.
> Developers and Designers would be foolish to limit its use to a11y.
>


I see problems arising from the use of ARIA in HTML for purposes other than
UI accessibility including:

* Conflict with native HTML accessibility semantics
* Unnecessary cruft build up in the corpus of HTML documents due to its
extended use.
* Dilution of its relationship to accessibility APIs semantics and increase
in complexity of an already complex vocabulary.

I would really think there is a need for this stuff to be more thoroughly
discussed, especially in relation to ARIA use in HTML as a host language.

Review at your leasure, comment at will.

[1] http://w3c.github.io/aria-in-html/#first-rule-of-aria-use
[2] http://rawgit.com/w3c/aria/master/aria/aria.html#h-abstract
[3] https://twitter.com/rschwer/status/593758137989013504
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/html-aria/



--

Regards

SteveF
HTML 5.1 <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/>
Received on Friday, 1 May 2015 09:11:41 UTC

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